Monorail! Monorail! Monorail! – Farewell Sydney Monorail

Monorail! Monorail! Monorail! Farewell Sydney Monorail
Monorail! Monorail! Monorail! Farewell Sydney Monorail

“There’s nothing on this earth like a genuine, bona-fide, electrified, six car monorail!”
“What’d I say?”

“Monorail”
“What’s it called?”
“Monorail”
“That’s right, monorail!”
“Monorail! Monorail! Monorail!”

Marge vs The Monorail. Episode 71 of The Simpsons, 1993

Sydney's Monorail. Final journey 30 June 2013
Sydney’s Monorail. Final journey 30 June 2013

It would have to be my favourite Simpsons episode, Marge Vs The Monorail, it centres around a crook salesman, Lyle Lanley convincing and selling the town of Springfield a monorail. All the townsfolk think its a great idea, except Marge yet Homer becomes the monorail driver as he explains to Marge, its his lifelong dream 🙂 After the monorail is built, things start to go wrong with the brakes failing and ultimately Homer saves the day.

Sydney Monorail crossing the  Pyrmont Bridge enroute to Harbourside station
Sydney Monorail crossing the Pyrmont Bridge enroute to Harbourside station

Opened on the 21st of July 1988, the monorail operated 364 days a year (closed Christmas Day) with each car doing around 60 laps per day of the 3.6 kilometre track – that’s roughly 546,000 circuits and 1,965,600 kilometres in its lifetime!

Harbourside Monorail Station at Darling Harbour
Harbourside Monorail Station at Darling Harbour
Ticketing and Tokens to ride the Monorail
Ticketing and Tokens to ride the Monorail
& stations on the Monorail circuit
& stations on the Monorail circuit

With 7 stations on the circuit, it takes 15 minutes to do a full loop in one of the 7 car vehicles doing a maximum speed of 9.2 metres per second.

Sydney Monorail pulling into Harbourside Statio
Sydney Monorail pulling into Harbourside Station
Monorail at Harbourside Station
Monorail at Harbourside Station

Originally operated by semi-automatic control, due to the age of the monorail, the cars were driven manually by a driver in the front of each vehicle during its final years. Each 32.12 metre vehicle can accommodate 170 passengers, 56 seated.

Monorail track over Pyrmont Bridge
Monorail track over Pyrmont Bridge

The 3.6 kilometres of track measures 250 millimetres wide and has a maximum gradient of 4.5% up and 6.5% down. When the track is pulled down the steel will be recycled along with the cars and probably be used in another Sydney highlight, perhaps Barangaroo redevelopment…or Packer’s new Casino?

The residents of this inner city apartment block will probably be happy to see the Monorail torn down
The residents of this inner city apartment block will probably be happy to see the Monorail torn down

The Sydney Monorail never really worked out how it should have, it was independently run and never integrated into the city’s transport system which probably brought about its demise.

Monorail exit - Exit gates at a monorail station
Monorail exit – Exit gates at a monorail station

Three weeks short of its twenty-fifth birthday the monorail did its last loop at  9.00pm on  Sunday 30 June 2013, even Homer Simpson couldn’t stop this exit of a Sydney icon.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. A shame but I can only remember using it three times in my life!

  2. Jas@AbsolutelyJas says:

    I used to love the monorail as a kid – my nana used to take me on it when we had our ‘days out in the city’. Completely agree though – the fact that it was never integrated into the broader transport infrastructure was definitely its demise, the silly thing didn’t go anywhere 🙂

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